This is the perfect miniature dog: the Japanese Shiba does not have the look of a small dog, it actually has the look of a big dog that is muscular, and very well made. Despite this factor, this dog is indeed a small dog whose height is only around thirty-six and forty two centimeters and around two and a half centimeters less in the case of the females. This dog head has a wedge shape, has very defined cheekbones and a defined stop; the thickness of the muzzle should be moderate; the nose should be black; it should have tight black lips; its eyes should be relatively small, triangular and should be dark brown; the ears are small, triangular and should be inclined forward very tight and firmly. The neck should have a medium length; the back straight and leveled; a long chest, a highly inserted tail that is thick and curled over its back. In proportion this dog is longer than it is tall. The front legs should be straight; the hind legs should be muscular and moderately angled. The dog is double coated, and outer coat should be rough and straight and the undercoat should feel soft and dense. This dog comes in a variety of colors that include red, sesame red and black and fire color, and fire and black.

Ideal owner:
Even though this dog has a very charming look that stands out, it is not a dog for everyone. This small, quick and nervous dog has big ideas and a lot of energy and initiative. It is very clean and is somewhat like a cat with some of its habits; it even tries to climb up on tables and windows. It really enjoys being outside but it also loves being inside the house, however it will run all over the house if it allowed to do so. Without a doubt this dog is aware of how special it is, and the owner needs to be aware that this dog knows this. Training this dog can be a challenge, since your Shiba will think it is smarter than you are and will not see the sense in repeating things over again. It is difficult to teach this dog things that it is not convinced about wanting to do. If you are intending on using this dog as a show dog make sure to check its mouth every day from the moment it is a puppy because a lot of these dogs absolutely refuse allowing people to touch their mouths. Shibas have very strong instincts and will take off running to hunt its prey; it is very fast with its feet and mind. If you like this breed, you will of course want another one, just make sure to get one of the opposite sex.

Puppy Shibas are very dark, almost black, and the color of the adult will not be evident until the puppy is around five or six weeks old. The ears will stand up on their own between eight and ten weeks of age. The Shiba is a very natural breed, and it does not go through huge changes while it grows. Puppies are very individualistic from the moment they are able to stand on their feet. Obedience training is essential for this dog from the moment it is very small. This dog will not stand wearing a leash if the owner has not gotten it used to it from the time it is a puppy so make sure to get it used to a leash and collar. Never go out on a walk with a Shiba without putting a leash on it. Shibas can make a bit of a strange noise when they get excited but don't be alarmed, it's normal.

General health:
The care the coat requires is not excessive, but a weekly brushing will keep its coat clean and free of knots. During shedding season, which happens two times a year, brush its coat with a metal comb to help get rid of the dead hair on the undercoat, and give it a warm bath. Some of these dogs hate water, and cannot get used to it. Be firm but nice even though this dog will test you continually. This dog is very resistant however some are more sensitive than others. Keep its ears and anal glands clean; make sure to check that its coat does not have any ticks or fleas. Hip dysphasia and progressive retina atrophy are not very frequent problems but they have been seen, even so it will be necessary to check the dog just in case. Some lineages of these dogs are prone to suffering from heart murmur and thyroid deficiency. Some of them can suffer from joint dislocation. This dog's life span is of around twelve to sixteen years.

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